Andover Townsman, Andover, MA

February 14, 2013

Letter: Selectman Salafia should tell all about role in Bancroft settlement

The Andover Townsman

---- — Editor, Townsman:

The Townsman in June 2012 reported that Board of Selectmen Chairman Paul Salafia was personally involved in a clandestine effort with the plaintiffs in the Bancroft Elementary School abutters’ suit. Chairman Salafia was indicated to have dealt secretly with an unnamed agent for the lead plaintiff in that suit before it was abruptly dropped, resulting in a bonanza for the abutters and a $5.7 million upcharge in construction costs to Andover taxpayers.

The taxpayers of Andover have a right to know who it was that Chairman Salafia covertly met with, the details of that meeting, the authority by which Salafia acted, the lawfulness of his actions on behalf of the abutters, and what quid pro quo, if any, was involved. To date, Salafia has failed to publicly disclose any of that information. Parenthetically, Salafia’s activities reasonably can be construed to fall within the realm of ex parte communication, widely frowned upon under the law.

In the interest of transparency, I call upon Town Manager Buzz Stapczynski with the assistance of Town Counsel Tom Urbelis, to produce a report publicly detailing the role of Chairman Salafia in this matter. If necessary, Salafia should be deposed under oath. And, the ensuing report ought to be delivered posthaste. Otherwise, the assistance of the Essex County District Attorney or the Attorney General of the Commonwealth should be sought.

Peter Cotch

Salem Street